clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jayson Stark: Rays Inquiring on Dunn/Willingham, Won't Sell Low on Upton

The article is behind the Insider pay wall, but here's the basic gist: 

Despite an eruption of rumors linking them to Cliff Lee, the Rays are spending almost all of their time shopping for bats these days. Two names sources say they've inquired about: Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn, reports's Jayson Stark.

The article then goes on to say that the Rays are interested in adding offense regardless of a player's position, and that they're not interested in "selling low" on BJ Upton. They state that the Rays would be more likely to move Upton during the off-season, as trading him now would leave them without a centerfielder. According to this article, Seattle is the team that inquired about Upton and the Rays have merely been "kicking the tires" with Cliff Lee.

In our trade deadline Handbook, we covered both Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham. Here's what we had to say about them at the time:

Josh Willingham:

Rest of Season Salary: $2.3M

Rest of Season Projection: .384 wOBA, 14.8 wRAA (~1.5 offensive WAR)

Contract Status: Eligible for final year of arbitration after 2010 season.

Notes: Willingham is a cheap outfielder that has great plate discipline (11.6% career walk rate) and provides some pop (.215 career ISO). He's been putting up a career year to date, posting a .412 wOBA and 2.5 WAR already. He's on the far side of 30, though, meaning that the Nationals might be shopping him around come the deadline. My main concern would be that like Hart, he's an outfielder with another year of arbitration eligibility and would clog the Rays' bench to a degree. Short term, though, you would be hard pressed to find another player that could put up comparable numbers for that cheap. 

Adam Dunn:

Rest of Season Salary: $6M

Rest of Season Projection: .396 wOBA, 21.8 wRAA (~2.2 offensive WAR)

Contract Status: Free agent after season; likely Type-A

Notes: Adam Dunn would be a perfect fit for the Rays - and the Nationals would make great trade partners - but Dunn has refused to DH in the past. Also, Dunn has played his entire career in the National League. While he is a better hitter than Pat Burrell ever was, you have to wonder if his numbers might slip a bit by moving to the AL East. That said, I would pursue him if he changed his mind about DHing.

I still don't want Adam Dunn stepping anywhere near the field defensively, but there aren't many other available hitters that are better than him (Prince Fielder might be the only one). If he's willing to DH - and to get off the Nationals and play for a contender, I would think he'd relent - I'd take him in a heartbeat.